As is our yearly tradition, I will be doing a recap of all the sessions I go to at ZendCon 2009. This is the fourth year Outreach Technology has been represented at ZendCon, and I have high expectations of the conference. It is usually a great source of “What’s new” in the PHP community, and the people are great. ZendCon gives you access to the greatest minds in the PHP community which is totally awesome.
So here is my recap of day 1 at ZendCon 2009.
Keynote – Andi Gutmans, CEO of Zend
Andy gave a good Keynote again this year. I always think of his keynote as a “State of the PHP Community” address. He introduced Zend Server 5 which has an awesome “Black Box” feature that goes in depth to the PHP stack when an error occurs on your site. I assume this feature will make it to the CE version of Zend Server as I can see the feature being very helpful in dev environments as well as production ones. Andy also announced that Zend Studio was getting upgraded to version 7.1. I really hope some of the nuances of 7.0 have been worked out, especially the code completion. A lot of these issues are supposedly addressed in the 7.1 upgrade (I plan to install it a little later today so we will see). Other than product announcements, there were a few guest speakers who are using Zend in enterprise environments. The most shocking thing I saw was the long list of companies using Zend Framework (American Idol?). It just shows you that the PHP world is a force to be reckoned with and we have grown up significantly over the past few years.
Preparing for Synchronization with Browser-local Databases – Eric Farrar, Product Manager for Sybase iAnywhere
Eric gave a really interesting presentation about syncing offline applications with central data stores. He talked alot of strategy regarding how to keep your data synced properly. This seems like a really relevant topic because it seems web apps are moving to an arena where they may not always be connected to the web (Google Gears-esque). I took some really great notes on maintaining database integrity and generating primary keys correctly. Very cool stuff. We also learned that PHP support for Google Gears is the most requested feature, and the Gears team will develop new features based on votes. So if you have a second, head over to the Google Gears project and vote for PHP support!
Doctrine 2.0 – Enterprise Persistence Layer for PHP – Guilherme Blanco
This was an uncon session, which means it is not part of the standard track of presentations at the conference. That in no way means that uncon sessions are any less awesome, because Guilherme did a great talk. I don’t really know much about Doctrine, but the phrase of the conference this year has to be ORM, so I figured I should go and figure out what it was all about. Unfortunately, I probably didn’t know enough about Doctrine to really get my moneys worth out of the talk. It all looked absolutely awesome, but I need to study up on Doctrine some more and actually understand what it gets me before I figure out why Doctrine 2.0 rocks.
I had a special invitation to the ZCE luncheon where we got some awesome food and chatted with other ZCEs. I don’t know if there were just not many ZCEs here or what, but the room was half empty so who knows. We did have some good lunchtime conversation though.
Developing in the Cloud – Lots of people
I am not ashamed to admit that I was totally lost in this presentation. I was really hoping to get some basic “this is what it means to work in the cloud” but I didn’t really get it. It was less introductory and more for a seasoned crowd. A lot of talk about Cloud computing at the conference, which I expected with Zend’s announcement about their involvement in the SimpleCloud API a few weeks ago.
Intro to NOLOH: Easier and more powerful than your current Framework – Asher Snyder
who downloaded it needed to purchase a license? It was free for education, but not so much for everyone else.
Cool PHP Objects Sleep on the Couch – Sebastian Bergmann
This was the most informative talk of the day. Sebastian gave a great talk about serializing objects with CouchDB,
which I had never heard of until getting to ZendCon. CouchDB looks awesome because it uses JSON as it’s transfer mechanism so it is really easy to integrate with. I added that to my Google Wave of stuff to look at after ZendCon. I also saw a little app Sebastian was using in his talk called phploc which will run stats on your PHP app. It was pretty sweet…yet another thing to add to the Wave.
Encouraging Developers – Lots of people
Another uncon session, this was more of a roundtable. There were managers and developers in the room, and we had some great conversation about everything from hiring to team building to compensation. Since I wear the developer hat and the project manager hat a good bit, this session was one where I felt like I could contribute and learn from all at the same time. It was really great to hear what had worked for other people and to share our stories as well.
Welcome Reception – Sponsored by Adobe
Thanks to Adobe for sponsoring food and beverage for the opening reception. I walked around the sponsor area and talked to the guys from GitHub and BlackMESH hosting. Good times were had, and I met a lot of cool people.
With day one in the books, I was beat, so after dinner I went straight to bed. Then proceeded to wake up at 4AM local time, which is when I started writing this blog post